Creating a functional and updated kitchen can add value to your home and increase the enjoyment of daily kitchen activities like cooking, entertaining and sharing meals with your family. The old realtor adage of “kitchens sell homes” may still ring true, but there’s no reason to wait until you are putting your house on the market to consider a kitchen remodel.
Most people believe that kitchen renovations are expensive and time-consuming. According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2018 cost vs. value report, the average cost to fully renovate a 200-square-foot kitchen was $64,000. That price includes wood cabinets, an island, laminate countertops and a standard sink and faucet, new appliances, lighting and flooring.
Thankfully, many people do not need a major renovation, just some minor remodeling to update a kitchen. If you are looking to give your kitchen a makeover with a limited budget, here are some ways to do it without breaking the bank, plus tips for keeping your remodel on track.
NOTES: The beginning half of 2021 has seen an unprecedented labor shortage as a side effect of the Covid-19 pandemic. In conjunction with this, demand for materials and construction jobs has skyrocketed. As a result, material prices may be higher than those reported in this article, and lead times may be longer than usual for both labor and materials.
(Note: All details and prices are accurate as of publication and are subject to change.)
1. Add Color with Paint
One of the most inexpensive ways to quickly transform a room is with paint. It’s also a versatile medium that can be used in creative ways. With a coat of paint, your kitchen will instantly look brighter and feel newer. This is an easy way to incorporate a trendy color into your space, as long it complements your cabinetry and flooring. Go for neutrals for a fresh look, and keep in mind that neutrals cover a range of hues that are exciting and chic.
2. Refresh the Cabinets
The average stock kitchen cabinets cost $75 to $400+ per linear foot installed. Custom cabinets will cost even more. However, if your cabinets are structurally sound, it’s easy to update them with a few simple tricks:
- deep clean: Cabinetry collects dust and grime; giving them a deep clean to remove gunk and debris will instantly brighten your kitchen.
- Paint: Sometimes, all your cabinets need is a fresh coat of paint to make them look modern and new. Although you can’t go wrong with all-white, warm hues and greens are trending cabinet colors.
- Replace the doors: If your cabinets are in good condition, spruce them up with new doors. You can get new doors from cabinet retailers or hire a carpenter to make new ones. You can get a whole new look for a fraction of the price.
- Change the hardware: Accessories always make a difference. Update the pulls and knobs for an inexpensive facelift.
3. Repair Your Sink Grout
Over time, grout lines around the sink will darken or become damaged. If some of the grout is crumbling or cracked, it’s a good idea to get it repaired by a professional. Fixing a few areas of damaged grout is simpler than a new sink installation and will cost around $200 to $400 per projects. Prices will increase based on the amount of grout to fix.
If the grout is in good condition, give it a good cleaning using baking soda, vinegar and a brush. A professional deep cleaning will cost $1 to $3 per square foot.
4. Replace the Faucet
Depending on your DIY skills, swapping out an old kitchen faucet for something new is an easy and cost-effective fix. It will make the whole sink look new, especially if you refreshed the grout around the sink and painted the cabinets. Most faucets are easy to install, but you must be comfortable with shutting off the water supply and basic plumber tools.
However, if you decide to go with a professional installation, a plumber can easily swap out a faucet in less than an hour. Professional-styles and faucets with smart features that make turning the water on and off hands-free are popular trends hitting homes.
5. Add a Backsplash
Backsplashes are a functional and attractive addition to your kitchen. They protect the walls along with the countertops and behind the stove. They also add a pop of color and interest to your kitchen. Adding a backsplash can be an inexpensive DIY project for handy homeowners.
Various materials work for backsplashes such as shiplap, tile, peel and stick wallpaper, metal, stone, and much more. Cost and labor will vary, depending on materials. Although subway tile is a popular and classic choice, bold patterns and unconventional materials such as mirrors are becoming trendy options.
6. Replace Lighting Fixtures
Replacing outdated fixtures will make your kitchen look more modern and maximize visibility in working areas. Don’t limit yourself just to the main ceiling fixtures. Task lights, such as under-cabinet lighting illuminate darker spots within the kitchen, making every part of your kitchen brighter.
They are easy to install and are relatively inexpensive. LED lighting is a popular choice for builders and homeowners because they emit less heat, lasts several times longer than incandescent bulbs and uses a fraction of the energy. The more light you have in your kitchen, the bigger and airy it feels and looks.
7. Upgrade the Pantry Cabinet
Don’t leave your pantry out during the remodeling process. This aspect might not be as readily visible, but having a functional pantry will make the heart of your home run smoothly. Start by clearing out your existing food storage space, then get to work on organizing.
You can enhance the pantry with custom shelving, lighting and labels so that everything is always easily accessible.
We’ve reviewed the best models from the best brands here and rated the top five that meet the most homeowners’ needs.
Other Remodeling Tips to Remember
1. Declutter to stay organized
A clutter-free place allows you to work more efficiently and assess what needs to be done. Before starting any kitchen remodel, clear the countertops and get rid of appliances and dishes that are taking up valuable space. By reducing clutter, your kitchen will immediately feel bigger and open.
2. Keep the floor plan to save time and money
Unless it’s necessary, keep the existing piping and utility layout where they are. Moving an appliance such as a sink or stove requires the help of a professional plumber and/or electrician. This can greatly increase the cost of kitchen remodel.
3. Match your appliances for maximum aesthetic value
It’s better to have all your appliances match in your kitchen than have the upgrade stand out from the rest. Go with a one-color suit: black, white, stainless steel, etc. Keeping the appliances in the same color suit will give your kitchen a cleaner, cohesive look.
4. Shop wisely
Big box retailers and custom kitchen renovation stores are not your only option for brand-name appliances, cabinetry or other high-end materials. Ask around locally about other similar reuse places where contractors and builders donate or sell their overstock at a discount.
Since a minor kitchen renovation ROI is 81.1 percent, updating your kitchen will increase the value of your home. However, you do not have to do a major overhaul or take out a home equity loan to make minor but impactful improvements.
The key is to set your priorities and budget. Save money by tackling easy DIYs such as painting and hardware swaps, and hire professionals to take care of the electrical and plumbing elements. A mini face-lift for your kitchen will make your space more marketable and an enjoyable place to cook and eat.